WALLENSTEIN (pacing up and down in extreme agitation).
What! I must realize it now in earnest,
Because I toy’d too freely with the thought!
Accursed he who dallies with a devil!
And must I—I must realize it now—
Now, while I have the power, it must take place?
Now—now—ere they can ward and parry it!
WALLENSTEIN (looking at the paper of signatures).
I have the Generals’ word—a written
Max Piccolomini stands not here—how’s that?
It was—he fancied—
There needed no such thing ’twixt him and you.
He is quite right; there needed no such thing.
The regiments, too, deny to march for Flanders—
Have sent me in a paper of remonstrance,
And openly resist the Imperial orders.
The first step to revolt’s already taken.
Believe me, thou wilt find it far more easy
To lead them over to the enemy
Than to the Spaniard.
I will hear, however,
What the Swede has to say to me.
ILLO (eagerly to TERZKY).
Go, call him
He stands without the door in waiting.
Stay but a little. It hath taken me
All by surprise; it came too quick upon me;
’Tis wholly novel that an accident,
With its dark lordship, and blind agency,
Should force me on with it.
First hear him only,
And after weigh it.
[Exeunt TERZKY and ILLO.]
WALLENSTEIN (in soliloquy).
Is it possible?
Is’t so! I can no longer what I would?
No longer draw back at my liking? I
Must do the deed, because I thought of it?
And fed this heart here with a dream? Because
I did not scowl temptation from my presence,
Dallied with thoughts of possible fulfilment,
Commenced no movement, left all time uncertain,
And only kept the road, the access open?
By the great God of Heaven! it was not
My serious meaning, it was ne’er resolved.
I but amused myself with thinking of it.
The free-will tempted me, the power to do
Or not to do it—Was it criminal
To make the fancy minister to hope,
To fill the air with pretty toys of air,
And clutch fantastic sceptres moving t’ward me!
Was not the will kept free? Beheld I not
The road of duty close beside me—but
One little step, and once more I was in it!
Where am I? Whither have I been transported?
No road, no track behind me, but a wall
Rises obedient to the spells I muttered
And meant not—my own doings tower behind me.
[Pauses and remains in deep thought.]